Review by XundeadmanX
"Bioware continues to impress."
Let's get this out in the open first. I would love to give this game a 10, but some minor gripes truly forbid this title from receiving the perfect game ever. It's definitely at least a 9.5 and since I cannot fully render that score, the score presented will suffice for now. No further stalling, let's begin.
For starters, those who are not aware of the games background, I encourage you to seek it out, as I will not be exploring it in detail, though references will be made.
Mass Effect 2 is almost in every shape and form a true predecessor. There is no repetitive nature in questing anymore, combat has had a complete cosmetic make over, both in how it performs and how it works [though retains what made it so wonderful from the original] and added more content than you could possibly hope for. That alone makes this game a step-up from the original. What also had many in a frenzy was the evidence that your choices from the first game impact what would occur in your story this time around. That's right, I said your story. Bioware presents a pre-written story, but you alone are the foundation that makes this evolve. Your actions dictate how the story will progress. It may not be life changing events, though nobody can argue that you Bioware has done a great job in handling control. You might be asking now, why not the perfect ten score then? If I have no gripes with the mentioned improvements, what could possibly make this another near perfect title? We'll touch on that shortly.
If you were one of the lucky individuals to experience the first installment of this game, I don't even need to tell you how personal, in depth, and emotional the story was. I also do not need to tell you how some things were rather tedious such as planet exploration, driving the Mako vehicle, and several other elements. They were all part of the experience though, one we all enjoyed that made us, the fans of such a true classic, involved in this world. You never felt disconnected or departed from the world, you were a key element and had absolutely control. Mass Effect 2 delivers and shares this same experience.
My personal favorite revamp were the classes. When playing as a Biotic user in the previous installment, I never felt unique. Same as being directly linked to a Tech specialist, or a Solider, it all felt the same. This time around, every class feels different. As a Solider you feel like a walking tall Commander who can shoot his way through hell if need be. As a Biotic user, you feel as you dictate the battlefield with how you see fit. Tech's now are true manipulators of the staging. Everything feels different, unique, and greatly improved.
Weapons are another key element of gameplay. Instead of the former, guns now have different properties. Pistols are often very high powered, yet slow, accurate guns. Sub machine guns are good for crowd controlling at short distances, while Assault Rifles can be effect at medium to long ranges quite well. Every feels very unique and suits all sorts of differences in this installment opposed to the previous where it was personal preference.
Characters and story telling are all much improved this time around as well. Every character to me seemed different, all in for the same cause though had their own baggage to provide. While all are closed off and harsh to begin, developing personal relationships with your crew can bring out intricate details of the characters. Each one is worth exploring, revealing all the details of not just them, but everything around them. Through advancing the story as well, you are given a very deep, emotional experience, much like the first one. Each action will have a consequence, be that for better or worse. Expect to have many unexpected surprises that will change how the Reapers are confronted and dealt with in the coming events.
Not everything as I said before though is absolutely perfect.
The first of not many gripes I had was that the choices you were conflicted to make in the previous Mass Effect have little impact on the story. It was nice reuniting with past comrades that you chose to save or managed to save, decisions based on moral codes of the council surviving or meeting their fate to the Reaper invasion, but it had little impact. Why were you not given more on this? To several fans, this was a selling point for this game and we feel robbed of this feature. Sure, you were deceased for two years, but how does that change what you have done? It seems like everything that previously happened is now forgotten to cater to those who have not played the first Mass Effect. The subtle references here and there are delightful without a doubt. Even that though does not make up for the robbed feeling.
Another personal gripe of my own is the new ammo addition. Fans of the first game will remember that guns did not have magazines, or clips, or heat sinks, whatever you want to call them is your choice. Guns would simply overheat. In this addition, you have new clips that you must reload after expending so much heat, Mass Effects 2 ammo design. I thought this was a great addition over the former system. However, why is there little to no explanation on this feature and several others like it? It feels as if this game was created to appeal to a mainstream audience, leaving the loyal fans with only partially of what made the first game an instant classic.
Other than the minor details such as those, and other possible aspects I did not touch on, this game is a masterpiece. It offers everything the first had and more. I would only not suggest this game if you strongly dislike roleplaying games and shooters. If you want a deep story, rich characters, beautiful graphics and cinematic, and a wonderful experience, do not hesitate and buy this game. You will certainly not regret it.
9.8/10 is my final score.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/02/10
Game Release: Mass Effect 2 (US, 01/26/10)
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